Lost Ollie is the magical story of a patchwork bunny and the boy who loved him. It will put you in mind of Toy Story or The Velveteen Rabbit, but it is not either of those. This 4 part mini series has depth and many unspoken messages.
Lost Ollie is rated PG. The story is heartwarming and a tearjerker. It’s got violence, rage, death, bullies, adoption, and racial identity mixed in with the love between children and their stuffed friends. If your children are very young, you might want to watch it with them to talk it through as you go. Ultimately the story is about love and family and home. I think it will become a much loved classic.
Ollie (voiced by Jonathan Groff) has been Billy’s (Kesler Talbot) best friend since he was an infant. We first meet Billy in fourth grade, but the story moves forward and backward in time.
A fourth grader is a little old to carry on conversations with his favorite toy. But Billy’s Momma (Gina Rodriguez) is sick and he needs his friend. His Daddy (Jake Johnson) has a hard time showing his emotions.
Ollie gets lost. He winds on a shelf in a small store. He doesn’t remember everything at first. A small star he carries helps him bring back memories. He’s determined to find Billy. He befriends a clown named Zozo (voiced by Tim Blake Nelson) and a teddy bear named Rosy (voiced by Mary J. Blige).
Ollie carries a small bell inside his body. It reminds Zozo of the bell his love had before he lost her. Zozo has ulterior motives about helping Ollie find Billy, but he offers to help. Rosy helps because Zozo is helping. This trio have many adventures in the search to find Billy. Zozo has an important story arc. It’s a more scary adult themed part of the story as he deals with loss and rage.
Billy has his own story as he searches for his lost Ollie all over his small town.
Four episodes seems like a lot of story for young children, but I think they can keep up. It’s told in nonlinear fashion because of the way Ollie’s memory returns. That means that everything that happens in all four episodes is important, even if it doesn’t seem so at the time. Everything ties together in a neat whole once the tale is told.
The ending was unexpected and filled with magic.
The integration of the live action and the animated story was beautifully done. The entire series was quite beautiful. The way music was used in the story was clever and added to the depth of the magic. One thing I found grating were the Southern accents the actors used. They sounded forced and phony.
The series was based on a book by William Joyce. It was developed for television by Shannon Tindle. All four episodes are available now on Netflix.